[PLUG-TALK] Right to repair, Tektronix service manuals

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Fri Mar 22 12:04:55 PDT 2019

Decades ago, Tektronix instrument manuals came with
complete schematics and parts lists.  Some even came with
little rolls of the special solder they used, attached to
the inside of the chassis.  Tek sold many electronic test
instruments to the military, which demanded the ability
to repair instruments in the field. 

Tektronix founders Howard Vollum and Jack Murdock met in
the Coast Guard during World War II, where they both
worked in the electronics repair shop.  Owners fixing
instruments in the field was baked into Tektronix DNA,
though this died when the founders did.

Today, the maker's movement and the right-to-repair
movement are restoring our engagement with our machines
and their extended lifetimes, a welcome counter-reaction
to the absurd consumer throw-away culture that emerged
in the 1960s and still dominates our lives today. 
I'm proud that so many younger folks are restoring our
awareness while they repair what we own.  

Retired Tektronix employees operate the Vintage Tek museum,
now on the Tektronix campus in Beaverton; it is worth a 
visit.  As I downsize, I donate my electronic test
equipment to them.  I'd be glad to donate it to other
organizations and individuals who also do good work.

I'm also donating most of my old Tektronix service manuals,
which Vintage Tek sells online.  However, I'd also like to
share some of those manuals with local makers, who might
enjoy seeing how the 1950s/1960s generation designed high
quality instrument circuitry.  Perhaps these old Tek
manuals might be useful "exhibits" for hearings in Salem,
as we fight for right-to-repair legislation.

Oregon's electronics industry grew from right-to-repair
roots.  The industry will stagnate if we don't train new
entrepreneurs to tinker and invent.  Apple is attributed
to Steve Jobs, but it was tinkerer Steve Wozniak who 
designed the products that Jobs sold (and took credit for).

I don't know if we can overcome the smarmy reptiles in
three piece suits who argue against electronics owner
empowerment in the legislature, but we can try. 

We can also show the old manuals and equipment in schools
and churches and local political gatherings; if the 
legislators listen only to corporate lobbyists, we can
replace them with legislators who listen to voters. 

If a right-to-repair advocate on this list wants a few
of these old manuals for political or community education
purposes, I would be glad to give them away, instead of
donating them to Vintage Tek.  


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com

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